Forged Wheels Construction
Though not enforced, there are quality standards to govern the production of wheels. Some countries though, like Germany and Japan, have government regulations requiring aftermarket wheels to meet certain criteria and ensure proper fit. The United States has taken steps to establish guidelines but it will be some time before they can enact regulation of any kind.
Consequently, all wheels are not made the same. The performance of an alloy wheel is a direct result of the manufacturing technique employed.
The ultimate in one-piece wheels. Forging is the process of forcing a solid billet of aluminum between the forging dies under an extreme amount of pressure. This creates a finished product that is very dense, very strong and therefore can be very light. The costs of tooling, development, equipment, etc., make this type of wheel very exclusive and usually demand a high price in the aftermarket.
This type of wheel utilizes two or three components assembled together to produce a finished wheel. Multi-piece wheels can use many different methods of manufacturing. Centers can be cast in various methods or forged. The rim sections for 3-piece wheels are normally spun from disks of aluminum. Generally, spun rim sections offer the ability to custom-tailor wheels for special applications that would not be available otherwise. The rim sections are bolted to the center and normally a sealant is applied in or on the assembly area to seal the wheel. This type of 3-piece construction was originally developed for racing in the early 1970s and has been used on cars ever since. The 3-piece wheels are most popular in the 18" and larger diameters.